Matrix Reloaded Deluxe Diorama

If you haven't seen the Matrix Reloaded yet, you're certainly the odd man (or woman) out, particularly if you're reading this review.  I'd suspect a majority of my readers are likely to be the types to have seen this flick as soon as they could.  I put together my review of the film itself opening weekend.

Mcfarlane Toys picked up the license for this and Terminator 3 this year, two perfect films to highlight the strengths, and the weaknesses, of Mcfarlane work.  I've already reviewed Morpheus and the Twins, and I have reviews of Trinity and Neo coming.

This review covers the deluxe playset, just hitting stores.  This set recreates the big fight scene at the French chateau.  It includes Neo and one henchman, battling it out, along with some cool weapons and features.

Retail is around $25 at most stores, and I've got some on-line suggestions for you at the end of the review.  Toys R Us, Electronics Boutique and Gamestop have all been carrying the regular figures so far, and TRU has the best price right now at $10 each.

Packaging - ***
The graphics and design of this box are extremely good, particularly since they found a way to place the figures in an action pose within the box.  For the MIBer, this works great, but it doesn't quite get as good of a score as it could because the box is also weak in construction.  You'll probably have a tough time finding one that hasn't been hit by shelf damage.

That's not the big negative though.  For some reason, McToys continues to ignore your need for any sort of instructions, and with a set like this that requires putting things together, it really would be nice.  It doesn't help that the posts shown on the box are not the way they ended up going with the final set.  Sure, I figured out which clear pegs went where eventually, but I would have preferred not having to use a trial by error method to do it.  I'll help you out and give you the run down when I get to that section.

EDIT - a faithful reader was kind enough to send along a link where you can see instructions on the Mcfarlane website.  I have no idea why they didn't include them with the packaging.

Sculpting - ****
It's no surprise that the sculpting on this set is amazing.  It is a McToys diorama after all.  But that doesn't mean it's perfect.

This Neo figure suffers from the same weak sculpt as the single pack.  Okay, I haven't reviewed that one officially yet, but I'm not happy about the attempt at capturing Reeves.  It's not terrible, and it's better than the awful N2 versions, but it isn't as good as the Morpheus or Twins figures, at least not in terms of capturing the look of the actor.

But the rest of the figure, the bad guy, and the set itself are amazing.  The detail work on the statues, coat of arms, clothing, hands, etc. etc. etc. have to be seen to be truly appreciated.  They easily overcome any minor failings in the Neo head sculpt to push this complete set to four stars.

Paint - ****
Overall, the set and figures are as close to perfect as you can get. They did go with stickers for the intricate tile floor, but that works well since it gives the floor a sheen that looks even more realistic.

However, beyond the figures, there aren't as many paint operations as you'd expect.  Between the stickers and the molded ivory color of the walls and statues, there aren't many other colors. 

The only negative is on the gold paint on the wainscoting.  It's obviously hand painted, and there's a little sloppiness in some of the straight edges.  But it's fairly minor, 

Articulation - **
This set is a diorama, and you won't be using the figures outside their standard poses.  That's the way it's designed, and you should be aware of that going in.  It won't detract much from the overall score for me, but it's still important to note.

Neo has neck, shoulders, wrists, left elbow and thighs.  The loser has neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips.  The statue comes apart at the neck, arms and waist, but they are articulated joints.

Accessories - ***1/2
There are a number of loose pieces with this set, intended to add more detail.  There are a total of seven swords, four small and three large, which fit nicely into the holders on the wall.  They are very basic in design, but fit the bill.

There's also the large coat of arms which attaches to the back wall.  It's very sturdy, and adds a lot of color to the set.

The final accessory is the staff weapon that attaches to the back wall as well.  This is the only bad piece, and the large spiked end can be detached.  I'm not sure why - neither figure can hold it anyway - and the small peg holding it on is very thin plastic.  Mine is almost broken, and I barely messed with it.  It's a weak point that is easy to break, and wasn't really required.

Value - ***1/2
At $25, this is one of the better McToys values.  Of course, the deluxe sets are always better values than the individual figures, but with the excellent look, great detail, and 'action' nature of this diorama, this one stands out above the others.

Overall - ****
While this set has it's issues, overall it looks amazing on the shelf.  It's the best of the Matrix toys so far, and you won't be disappointed.  It's hard to see from the photos, but this thing is huge, particularly with Neo hanging out there in mid-air.  

I mentioned earlier that the set really could use some instructions, but they aren't there.  Here's what I found after playing with the five small clear plastic pieces.  First, the solid white pieces in the statues arms, waist and neck are all removable.  Some might require a little effort to pull free, but they must be removed.

The clear plastic pieces replace them.  The largest one, with a hole in one end, is the waist attachment.  The next largest, with no bend in it, fits in the neck.  The two pieces that have bends are for the arms - the smaller one on the left, the larger on the right.  The very smallest of the clear pegs fits in the statues chest and in the back of the villain.  It's a tight fit between the head of the statue and the head of the villain, but it does all go together with a little effort.  These pegs have one round side, so they can only fit in the holes in one way.

There are no clear plastic rods for Neo, but a black metal rod attaches him to the stair wall.  I've had it all together for about three days now, and there's no droop.

I've included a picture below of the top of the statue with the clear pegs in place to help you get them in the right spot a little quicker.  There are also plenty of other general photos, so keep scrolling down!

Where to Buy - 
I haven't seen these anywhere in stores yet, but I'm assuming Toys R Us, EB and Gamestop will get them soon.  On-line choices include:

- Aisle Sniper has the set for $25 plus shipping.  They also have various bundles of the regular figures available next week.

- Beans Toys has a great price at $23 plus shipping.  Look under their McFarlane Toys section.

- Toys R Us ( has them for $25 as well.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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